It’s no secret that learning a language can help your child get ahead in life. It will give weight to his future CV and increase his chances of admission to the university of his choice. Also, it will improve his communication skills and prepare him for trips or a career abroad. It can even stimulate his brain and protect him from dementia later in life.
Once you’ve helped your child choose the language they’re interested in, there are several ways you can help them learn it faster.
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Speak It Yourself
If you are already bilingual or multilingual, speak to your child as soon as possible in the languages you already speak. The continuing exhibition introduces the concept of multilingualism to children from the very beginning of their life and in a very natural way.
Learning a language is also helpful, as it will allow your child to acquire new language skills in his later life. Thus, he will consider multilingualism as natural, have assimilated the sounds and the flow of the studied language, and have even acquired the foundations allowing him to learn a new language from scratch.
Suppose you speak the relevant language at home. In that case, your child, in addition to the passive learning they will be exposed to, will benefit from active learning that can greatly benefit them and prepare them for an eternal positive relationship with the child.
Try to integrate new languages into your child’s daily life, organizing fun vocabulary exercises with them in the evenings, using child-friendly flashcards or language learning apps.
- Help Them Stick To A Schedule.
With older children, more mindful practice is essential, and as a parent, there is a lot you can do to help yourself develop healthy learning habits.
The saying “It is by forging that one becomes a blacksmith” illustrates this example particularly well. Therefore, it is essential to encourage your child to practice writing, improve comprehension, and regularly review their class notes. Memory is aided by repetition, and children’s learning habits have been shown to respond well to structure.
If you can plan an hour or more of exercise each day, your child will learn the language much quickly only if exposed to it only once or twice a week.
- Stick Their Noses Into A Book
Children’s books are full of simple and varied words and essential linguistic and grammatical structures – in other words, they provide an ideal basis for learning a new language.
As toddlers naturally love books – and love their parents reading them to the – reading in the language they are learning is an incredibly powerful way to grow every day.
Older children may need more encouragement, but it is essential to supplement their learning with active reading in the target language to assimilate their new language best.
As their reading skills improve in the appropriate foreign language, be sure to give them access to foreign versions of books they already like, like, say, Harry Potter.
- Find A New TV Series.
Try to turn their screen time into another channel of language exposure (it’ll be easier than you expected, I promise).
If you are a toddler’s parent, try changing the language settings of their favorite show on Netflix. Most of the series is available in several languages . Children will not have major difficulties following their favorite series in a foreign language to which they have already been exposed.
Children, more patient and open than adults, tend to know how to overcome this kind of “discomfort.”
For teens, look for popular series or sitcoms in the language being studied (here are our suggestions for superhero series for learning English, for example). Regularly watching a 20-minute program of conversation in a foreign language can help them learn to follow spoken dialogues and introduce them to colloquialisms or slang.
- Send Them Abroad!
It isn’t a one-way trip or a heart-wrenching farewell at the airport, but rather enrolling your child in a language course abroad during their summer vacation or any other time off at the airport during the year.
Spending even a few weeks abroad learning the mother tongue of a country can considerably boost their language skills and encourage them to invest more in their learning.
It is especially important for adolescents who are at risk of becoming demotivated without realizing the real benefit of speaking a new language with new friends around the world, among other things.
At EF, we offer a variety of immersive learning courses and programs for children, teens, and young adults, which aim to make language learning fun, natural, and as effective as possible.